Front Fence Freshen-Up

Posted by Charlotte  | 08 Jan 2016  | 3 comments

We’ve been doing some work around the entrance of our land to make it feel more welcoming. One of the things that bothered me most was the grungy “white” picket fence at the front of the house.

Doesn’t look like the place is deserted, nope, not at all…

Closer inspection revealed a lot of lichen and black grime all over.

Spring was the perfect time to give it a good clean – the days were starting to warm up but it was still raining enough that we didn’t have to worry about our water usage.

I hauled out the water blaster and after a few battles with a hose extension and a jerry-rigged connector from the previous owner that kept popping off, I was on my way.

Water blasting the fence was immensely satisfying – the grime was easily blasted away with a swipe of the jet leaving the fence sparkling white.

Ok so it wasn’t perfect – the lichen had left dark spots where it was growing, and a fair bit of paint had come off – especially on the gate, but it was certainly an improvement.

Now I was going to leave it like this and just call it a day, after all this fence will be replaced at some point in the next few years… but the missing paint on the gate was enough to annoy me.

I figured it would probably be at least 2 years before we get on to replacing the fence, and I really didn’t want to put up with it looking like it was for that long. So I got out the paint, brushes and rollers…

And painted the entire fence.

I’m so glad I did – the difference between the painted and unpainted bits was striking.

I wasn’t going to do in between the pickets but my perfectionist streak kicked in and I happened to find a smaller roller that fit perfectly, so quickly touched up all the noticeable bits.

Yay, all done! And only got a little paint on my clothes…

Now the fence looks so much better, and makes the front of the house much more inviting.

Just for fun, here are a few before and after photos:

Fence-pickets---before-and-after

Fence-gate---before-and-after

Fence-front---before-and-after

The only problem now is that I keep noticing our rusted old letterbox…

Inferno

Posted by Nick  | 06 Jan 2016  | 0 comments

Before the summer heat kicked in about a month ago, we finally lit the giant pile of sticks and logs that remained from having some trees felled in 2014. It had been an eyesore for long enough.

It’s difficult to tell the scale of the pile, but it’s bigger than it looks. A lot of the bulk has settled, but this is what it looked like soon after felling:

We were a little scared, to be honest. We had never set fire to anything of this magnitude before. Despite choosing a windless day and preparing for disaster with ineffective water buckets, we were all too aware of how easily fires can get out of control.

Nevertheless, we’d put it off long enough. It was time to light. We added a bunch of sticks to the pile in an effort to tidy up around the yard a bit. Fortunately for us, we managed to rope a couple of slaves into helping out. With the addition of Dingus and James our labour was cut in half.

I built four fires around the circumference of the pile…

…but I ended up only needing to light one of them.

The gentle north-easterlies took over… with a frightening and unexpected voracity.

All of a sudden there were unstoppable five-metre high flames consuming the pile at a quickening pace.

The inferno took hold in under a minute. Its speed was unsettling. There were large trees nearby, as well as sheep confined to the nearby orchard.

Before it took off and reached the other side, we threw in some remaining branches scattered through the paddock.

Then we all stood back and watched in rapt respect for the awesome fury of mother nature.

You could still feel the intense radiation at this distance – any closer was uncomfortably warm:

This is about as close as you could get without feeling like your face was melting, but only for a few seconds:

When the flames had died down a bit, I attempted to push some of the outer debris into the centre with the tractor.

A couple attempts worked, but I had to reverse quickly when I got a face full of smoke.

As it died down we continued to throw sticks into the glowing core.

Later the next day we all roasted some marshmallows over some embers, but there’s no pictures of that because we were too busy stuffing our faces with burnt gooey goodness.

The collapsed pile continued to burn slowly for another five days, and was still smouldering after a week. A few big trunks remained, which we’ll have to try burning again at some stage.

All in all, a successful mission with zero casualties! Our first big burn – now we have confidence for the next.